The Palouse is Not Hell–But You Can Smell the Brimstone From There

Alan Lohner Humor

Two weeks ago, I made the inference that Eastern Washington was hell. It was a perfectly logical assumption–the EW Eagles play football on a field that they themselves call “The Inferno,” and who am I to disagree with the very people who have consigned themselves to the netherworld?

However, upon further review, I now have a more realistic outlook. It’s way too cold for that forsaken region to be hell; however, and this is huge–you can certainly see it, and smell it, from there.

Such is that part of creation that includes the Palouse, where you must gingerly tread, lest you fall off the end of the Earth. It is the home of Oregon’s  feral football opponent this weekend. It might not be the land that time forgot, but time needs a constant jab in the ribs to make sure it remembers.


Our Beloved Ducks have invaded the Palouse to blitz Washington State, originally named Agricultural College, Experiment Station and School of Science of the State of Washington. As you might imagine, this moniker caused more than a little consternation for those who stenciled the institution’s 19th-century sports jerseys.

The Palouse is weird. This is normal.

But back in 1890, no branding companies existed to give schools normal appellations. The branding in the Palouse at the time assigned cattle and horses to their proper owners, keeping gunfights between neighbors to a minimum. Ah, the good-old days.

Fast forward 132 years, and that alleged learning academy in podunk Pullman no longer goes by the acronym ACESASOSOTSOW. No, Washington State University is associated with something far worse.

How would you like it, if your school was synonymous with losing? That’s Wazzu, but it goes deeper than that. The Cougars are famous for the kind of losing where defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory. It’s called “couging it”–choking spectacularly in seemingly impossible ways, and it’s an official part of the English lexicon, listed on

Wait’ll You See the Origin of “Coug It”

When the Cougars are ahead by three touchdowns with 90 seconds to go, don’t be surprised to see the coach on the losing sideline smiling and laughing, backslapping his assistants, hugging his players, and getting doused with a bucket of orange Gatorade. They all know that Washington State is going to “coug it”–and they’re getting a head start on celebrating.

But here is the beautiful part of the whole thing. In the Urban Dictionary the origin of “coug it” is attributed to…wait for it…Washington State University alumni. Hey, Cougar fan, getting branded a loser wasn’t done by the Ducks or the Huskies–it was done by none other than you.

Cougars, you “couged it” on yourself.

Wazzu–Easier to Get Into Than a Drug House

Now that we’ve determined–no, Cougar alumni have determined–that Wazzu is inferior athletically, at least Washington State can brag about its academics. Wait? What? No?

If you can sign your name on the Wazzu admissions application or scratch out an “X,” you’re practically golden, provided that you also a.) have a pulse, and b.) fork over an exorbitant sum of money for tuition, room and board, books, and fake ID.

Bogus IDs are frowned on by the two or three professors who actually bother with academics, but these fraudulent documents are vital for keeping the local dive bars from going into foreclosure.

Without Wazzu’s semi-functioning alcoholics who masquerade as students, the town would consist of a single metal pole with a sign on one side that says, “Entering Pullman,” a sign on the other side that says, “Leaving Pullman,” two silos, and a thousand tumbleweeds.

They promised me water and a view. Instead I got dirt and Colfax.

Rhodes Scholars + Nobel Prize Winners + Average Temperature = 0

When your most treasured and beloved tradition is “Drinking Until We Throw Up,” that might get in the way of competing for prestigious scholarships like those handed out at Oxford. And it just might explain why the number of Rhodes Scholars from Washington State, between 1904 and this very moment, is zero.

The number of Nobel Prize winners associated with Washington State is also zero, and as coincidence would have it, that’s almost equal to the average annual temperature in the Palouse in Celsius–when you factor in the wind chill.

Them’s some cold hard facts. Brrr!

And Now a Word From the Washington State Tourism Board

A tourism website for the state of Washington touts the Palouse’s “palette of rich colors,” and compares the region to Tuscany in central Italy.

Excuse me, but the Palouse has about as much in common with Tuscany as the Arctic tundra does with Tahiti. That’s not to say that the Palouse does not have some touristy things to do. It does. High on the list is discovering a way to not die from hypothermia.

Summers are sunny in the Palouse, but it can get a little chilly.

If you do journey to Tuscany–a land of verdant hills, lush gardens, and rustic sunsets–and your mind wanders and longs for the Palouse, rest assured that there are world-class psychiatrists in Europe who can prescribe you some very effective medicine–like high-octane morphine–to counter your craving. If they are extremely good doctors, they will make sure that you never leave Italy.

The Ducks–the Number One Haters of the Huskies

The school that, by far, despises the debauched, deranged, and depraved Washington Huskies is not Washington State. It is the University of Oregon. How can you, delusional Cougar fan, hate the Huskies when your stadium is named after a Husky? You are forever tainted by Husky DNA. Woof!

Husky grad and former governor Clarence Martin had a son who offered to give Washington State $250,000 back in 1972 to help build the Cougars football stadium, if the new structure was named after his dad.

A casual observer might call this bribery or extortion or plain-old disgusting and dirty, but in big business in America, this is not corrupt–it is “deal making.” Of course, we can call that quarter of a million dollars for what it was–filthy lucre–and the Cougars purred and lapped it all up.

All of this makes us speculate–what kind of sadistic reprobate was Governor Martin’s son? He put his Husky dad’s name on the Cougars’ stadium. That’s horrible enough. But then, the son had also attended Washington, so he too was a Husky, which makes him a traitor to his dad and to his school.

A typical Wazzu game-day crowd at Martin “The Husky” Stadium

All of This is Doubly Awful, But We’re Not Done

The Cougars accepted this stench-filled cash and became turncoats themselves. Imagine: Washington State agreed to put a Husky’s name on the most important landmark on campus. This is almost as horrifying as a university proudly displaying a mega-sized jersey of an accused double-homicidal maniac inside their stadium. Oh wait. That’s been done. By USC.

In Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, he writes, “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” Kipling was blessed in that he did not know of Washington State, in the east, and the University of Washington, in the west.

The betrayed and deluded Cougars are inextricably linked to their longtime and forever abusive Husky bigger brothers. The proof is in huge block letters at Wazzu’s home playground above the scoreboard for every eye to see: MARTIN STADIUM.

We think that there should be a picture of a Husky right alongside.

Alan Lohner
Tigard, Oregon
Photo at top of page from YouTube video

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